The Australian cites covered up report of Brisbane flood danger

By Hedley Thomas, The Australian

A SECRET report by scientific and engineering experts warned of significantly greater risks of vast destruction from Brisbane River flooding – and raised grave concerns with the Queensland government and the city’s council a decade ago.

But the recommendations in the report for radical changes in planning strategy, emergency plans and transparency about the true flood levels for Brisbane were rejected and the report was covered up.

The comprehensive 1999 Brisbane River Flood Study made alarming findings about predicted devastation to tens of thousands of flood-prone properties, which were given the green light for residential development since the 1974 flood. The engineers and hydrologists involved in the study warned that the next major flood in Brisbane would be between 1m and 2m higher than anticipated by the Brisbane town plan.

The study highlighted how the council had permitted the development of thousands of properties whose owners were led to believe they would be out of harm’s way in a flood on the scale of 1974.

The study was leaked to this reporter in June 2003 by a high-level public servant, who revealed that the local and state government at the time were less concerned with flood risks and more interested in seeing property development in low-lying areas.

“The flood immunity of properties is less than previously assessed. The average flood damages associated with flooding will be significantly higher. There are potential legal implications for council by allowing development to occur in higher-risk areas. As a minimum, developers and residents may need to be advised of the actual flood risk on their property,” the study says. “All elements of the study have been subjected to independent peer review because the key findings have significant implications for council.

“The major finding of this study is that the calculated one-in-100-year design flood flow . . . is about 1m to 2m higher than the current development control in the Brisbane River corridor. The simple option of saying that the current development control level represents the one-in-100-year flood level is not valid.”

Full story here

h/t to WUWT reader “Baa humbug”

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101 Responses to The Australian cites covered up report of Brisbane flood danger

  1. JRR Canada says:

    Good government as usual then.

  2. latitude says:

    revealed that the local and state government at the time were less concerned with flood risks and more interested in seeing property development in low-lying areas.
    =========================================================
    and more interested in getting that tax money

    I have a great idea, let’s give government even more power and control……………
    ……..since it’s been proven over and over how great government is at running things

  3. Sam Hall says:

    Well a man come on the 6 oclock news
    Said somebodys been shot, somebodys been abused
    Somebody blew up a building
    Somebody stole a car
    Somebody got away
    Somebody didn’t get too far yeah
    They didn’t get too far

    Grandpappy told my pappy, back in my day, son
    A man had to answer for the wicked that he done
    Take all the rope in Texas
    Find a tall oak tree, round up all of them bad boys
    Hang them high in the street for all the people to see

    That justice is the one thing you should always find
    You got to saddle up your boys
    You got to draw a hard line
    When the gun smoke settles well sing a victory tune
    Well all meet back at the local saloon
    Well raise up our glasses against evil forces
    Singing whiskey for my men, beer for my horses

    We got too many gangsters doing dirty deeds
    Weve got too much corruption, too much crime in the streets
    It’s time the long arm of the law put a few more in the ground
    Send em all to their maker and hell settle em down
    You can bet hell set em down

    Toby Keith Beer For My Horses Lyrics

  4. RoyFOMR says:

    Sad, but not surprising, that pragmatic logic is trumped by emotional outpourings.
    Science has been pitted against visceral response and gut-feel and has come off a poor second!
    As pointed out by the late Douglas Adams, the well-meaning but fork-short of a picnic individuals would still be agonising about what colour a wheel should be rather than what it does!
    Aliter, an asylum is even more dangerous when you’ve got rid of the doctors.
    For those who’ve lost loved ones, I’m truly saddened.

  5. Dave in Exile says:

    Reminds one of the bush fire scandal, but without the mindless greeny angle: corrupt government, greedy developers, and a complacent public. It is the same everywhere – floodplains and development go hand-in-hand. I don’t think the businesses or home buyers are completely free of blame. We bought our home on a hill in Taringa with the thought that 1974 might be repeated, Wivenhoe or no. Right now we might be stranded, but we’d be dry.

    On the other hand, two of the three places I rented in Brisbane are under water now, so I only really paid much attention to flood dangers when thinking of the long term investment. We are only slightly evolved from the chimps, so I think it is a bit unrealistic to blame us when we can’t think too far ahead. It’s best to just clean up and try to do better next time.

  6. RoHa says:

    Sure, latitude. Private developers are so naive that they take anything the government says at face value. They would never build on a flood plain if they thought there would actually be any floods.

  7. Fred from Canuckistan says:

    well the unburied report isn’t any more and people are likely to demand better flood control, even if some fish have to suffer a bit.

  8. Gary Pearse says:

    Maybe global warming admin had bought into the increasing plague of drought in Australia – a bit like the UK Met office which relies on AGW in their mild winter forecasts – snow is a thing of the past -and barbecue summers lasting a couple of months longer type of thing

  9. Nonoy Oplas says:

    This is similar to the story of Bangladesh and many other major urban centers around the world. Those places were natural flood plains. When population then were still small, easy for people to find other places to move up. Now with natural flooding, people blame global warming, rising ocean and other idiotic excuses.

  10. John F. Hultquist says:

    They should have ruled that any structure’s ground floor be 50 cm above the level of the 1974 flood height. They would now be Australia’s heroes.

  11. Les Francis says:

    You can also blame activist individuals in local and state governments who put faith in prognostications from warminists like Tim Flim-Flam Flannery who pointed out that large rainfall totals across Australian cities (and Australia generally) were a thing of the past.

    There are always examples of dwellings being built on flood plains etc. in all Australian cities.

  12. PandR says:

    Just been reading the expected Greenie “it’s climate change” comments. Unfortunately, the history books in Queensland report that this is an average flood for the Brisbane River. The recorded evidence of the really big floods show it can be MUCH worse. The tragedy is the near absence of prevention and mitigation in Queensland. This is typical, nearby is a mothballed desalination plant, built when the climate models predicted drought for the indefinite future. After loosing everything to a flood in Queensland, many years before the AGW, my subsequent homes have been in flood proof areas.

  13. Retired Engineer says:

    You think there might be a reason they call it a “flood plain”?

  14. pat says:

    there are different causes for the flooding in queensland and new south wales.
    however, the sequence for brisbane is as follows:

    18 May 2009: Brisbane Times: Dam levels bring two-year buffer on water restrictions
    The combined capacity of Wivenhoe, Somerset and North Pine dams is 59.02 pe
    cent – just 0.98 per cent below the 60 per cent trigger point that would
    allow the Queensland Water Commission to relax tough restrictions…
    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/dam-levels-bring-twoyear-buffer-on-water-restrictions-20090518-b837.html

    instead of easing water restrictions as promised, the queensland premier used the fact the combined dam capacity had only reached 59.02% to go back on her promise.

    in march 2010, the Premier decided restrictions might not be eased even if the dams reached a combined level of 100%. this was absolutely ridiculous and caused outrage as wivenhoe should never have gone above 40% according to some, or 60% according to others, as it was built precisely for flood mitigation.

    8 March 2010: Courier Mail: Wivenhoe Dam ready for big spill in Brisbane
    River
    But Premier Anna Bligh and water managers say there will be no easing of
    permanent water saving measures.
    “We can’t be complacent and we must treat water as a precious resource not
    to be wasted whether our dams are 50 or 100 per cent,” Ms Bligh said…
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/wivenhoe-dam-ready-for-big-spill-in-brisbane-river/story-e6freoof-1225838427960

    in october 2010, there was a new development:

    14 Oct: Brisbane Times: No flooding reported, despite warnings
    Brisbane City Council yesterday warned residents about possible flooding, due to a combination of water being released from Wivenhoe and a high tide…
    “The amount of water being released today is less than what was released when the spillway gates were last opened in 1999..”
    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/no-flooding-reported-despite-warnings-20101013-16k4f.html

    slightly different take:

    4 Oct: Brisbane Courier Mail: Water released from full Wivenhoe Dam as Weather Bureau predicts more than normally active cyclone season
    Minor releases occurred in 2001 but the last major release was in February 1999..
    Of Brisbane’s big three dams, Somerset is on 100 per cent, North Pine 97 per cent and Wivenhoe, which was on 99.7 per cent on Friday, is full
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/water-released-from-full-wivenhoe-dam/story-e6freoof-1225933776732

    to cut a long story short, when the january rains came, SEQ Water which manages the dams, have had to release huge amounts of water from wivenhoe (some say an amount equal to the waters flowing in from the catchment area) at the very time wivenhoe should have been taking the flood waters in. hence the brisbane river peaked and low-lying areas were flooded similar to 1974. we might as well not have built wivenhoe. it’s a complete disgrace, yet the MSM has been repeating the lie that wivenhoe (SEQ Water) has actually saved us from worse flooding.

    11 Jan: Brisbane Courier Mail: Wivenhoe Dam to release 12,000 cubic metres of water every second
    Earlier, a Seqwater source said the floodgates were opened to release 490,000 ML (mega litres) a day, up from 344,000 ML…
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/wivenhoe-dam-gates-opened-wider-to-increase-flows-into-brisbane-river/comments-e6freon6-1225985753811

    SEQ Water: Water Release Update (Wednesday 12 January, 08.00am)
    Wivenhoe Dam
    The Flood Operations Centre has begun an appropriate closure sequence to reduce releases.
    The releases from Wivenhoe Dam have been temporarily reduced to 215,000 megalitres per day to allow the peak of Lockyer Creek to enter the Brisbane River.
    After the downstream peak in the lower Brisbane River has passed, releases will be increased to maximum of 301,000 megalitres per day…
    http://www.seqwater.com.au/public/home

    btw i am not saying ALL the brisbane flooding was due to the above, but it is a major contributor.

  15. JohnB says:

    Sorry to disappoint, but there is a greenie angle here. Our State Labor gov (left leaning) requires green votes to stay in gov. The Greens had the slogan “No New Dams” and so no dams were built for flood mitigation.

    We now see the result of these policies.

    And yes, I am a Brisbane resident.

  16. Doug Badgero says:

    RoHa:

    No doubt, private developers would have built anywhere anyone had paid them to build. Perhaps the job of the government in this case was to ensure homeowners and insurance companies adequately understood the risks. Instead they covered up the risks.

  17. David W says:

    Except this flood peak is 1m below the 1974 flood level. Again we see rapid fire accusations made in the midst of a crisis.

    This is simply sensationalism at its worst. Designed to sell more papers but light on adequate researching and fact checking.

    I always recall being told that Wivenhoe would reduce the expected flood level from a 1974 type event by 2 meters. In this instance, the rainfall and river levels above Wivenhoe were exceeded by approximately a 1 to 2 meters. The end result was a flood peak in Brisbane about 1 meter below 1974.

    I don’t care what you think. Unless you want to demolish tens of bilions of dollars of real eastate and shutdown the central CBD, Brisbane will almost certainly on average once every 50 years suffer a devastating flood that destroys billions of dollar worth of property and costs lifes. Its part of what it means to be a city on a river.

    Now I don’t care what you say about developers but when a 1 in 200 year flood event occurs, any city in the world is going to be devastated. There are things you can plan for to try and minimise the risk of loss of life and property but their are limits.

    I do agree that controls on development are as strict as they might have been but be very careful how much blame you want to lay at their feet.

  18. grayman says:

    Dave in Exile and Baa glad to here you are high and dry, sorry for who is not. Comes down to the council saw tax money in them flood plains. Unfortunatly that happens in every city around the world and here in Austin Tx., they did not care if they could provide water services in the long term as in Australia with the water shortages and rationing, same here. And when it does rain and hard like yall, the flash floods come and sweep any and everything away even the idiots who try to cross low water crossings. Hope the death toll does not go up and the ones missing are found hanging on to a tree.

  19. charles nelson says:

    There can be no doubt that prevailing ‘expert’ opinion over the last fifteen years has been that the Australian Continent would get progressively drier. And interestingly as the drought progressed the louder and more hysterical this message was promoted.
    Tim ‘ghost metropolis’ Flannery, who was voted Australian of the Year for his efforts as lead climate change scaremonger, relentlessly predicted water shortages for Brisbane and all major cities. This chimed perfectly with others (mostly on the ABC SBS) predicting the imminent ‘Death’ of the Murray Darling River!!!!!!!! and the Great Barrier Reef!!!!!
    I sincerely hope they find evidence that the Queensland government neglected flood precautions because ‘expert advice’ led them to believe they were un-necessary in a drying climate.
    Bureau of Meterology, CSIRO, Queensland Uni….some where someone wrote a report about this…please let it come to light.

  20. Louis Savain says:

    Maybe stilt houses should be mandatory in flood prone regions.

  21. Mike says:

    Denying science because of short term (short sighted) economic concerns – when will it stop?

  22. Elizabeth says:

    Business as usual.

  23. Robert Ellison says:

    David W says:
    January 12, 2011 at 6:33 pm
    Except this flood peak is 1m below the 1974 flood level. Again we see rapid fire accusations made in the midst of a crisis.

    This is simply sensationalism at its worst. Designed to sell more papers but light on adequate researching and fact checking.

    The 1974 ans 2011 flood levels are not comparable – it depends on tides. The 2011 flood could easily have been a metre or 2 higher given the right (or wrong) tide and surge conditions. If someone is basing a conclusion on the fact that the 1839 (?) flood height in Brisbane was a metre or 2 bigger – so what.

    But I agree whole heartedly otherwise. I worked as a contract engineer for Brisbane Council doing flood reports. Numerical flood modelling (a very different beast to climate modeling) and mapping has been ongoing for a long time by many of Australia’s biggest engineering firms. I have read the reports and studied the mapping. Which is quite good and progressively updated through a reasonably good network of stream gauges. I have also designed developments for thousands of people in Queensland – as well as other major infrastructure.

    The principle in the State Government (much as I might think that less government is always better on principle) disaster management guideline is to give a 1 in 100 flood immunity and to provide safe evacuation routes for a probable maximum flood. These are engineering design principles and not subject to the whim of a politician.

    Sorry Anthony – I can’t see the point in this post at all. Repeating sensationalist journalism from The Australian is not a good look. It is not even a relevant post – why bother.

    Cheers
    Robert

  24. Poptech says:

    Government planning cannot prevent natural disasters. It is up to the property owners to assess the risks of where they choose to live but they must be free of government interference to make reasoned decisions. If the government guarantees disaster assistance outside of savings lives or provides flood insurance below market rates they create the problem. The insurance market without government intervention will prevent these disasters on their own by making the price too high for people to risk living in these areas.

    Moral of the story, don’t live in flood prone areas and don’t expect others to foot the bill for your mistake.

  25. JCB says:

    A little note to Anthony’s readers

    Australia unfortunately suffers public leadership remote from electors and reality.
    The country has effectively a one – party system with media, judiciary and a political caste helping themselves to a diminishing trough of inherited wealth and infrastructure.

    The politicians are given seats through party pre-selection. I have not seen a notice of public meeting to select candidates or raise money for a major political party since the 1970′s. The representatives are therefore beholden to the party and the party beholden to benefactors. These benefactors are increasingly speculators in property developement and what is better scam than reclassifying a flood prone site to allow residential or commercial developement.

    The current flooding in Queensland is a sickening display of a remote and corrupt ruling caste. Our monitors are filled with the sight of politicians filmed with the paid nodders behind them flown to the site of the latest interest purely for their own publicity.

  26. lyn roberts says:

    Some years ago wished to purchase a house, shown many properties, one I remember is particular, asked what was the hill immediately behind the house, lovely and green with grass and a few trees. Oh thats the levy bank, must have been 4 meters high or therabouts. I looked at the real estate man in amazement, his reply “Its to stop the river overflowing” , my thoughts came closer to being under a waterfall, No thanks.
    We have to be responsible for some common sense, if the developers could not sell these properties I think they would be very cautious about going ahead with this type of project. By the way this is in the Brisbane region, they missed the bullet this time.

  27. Cam (Melbourne, Australia) says:

    Had the politicians (and that includes local councils) not been the dumb ignorant sheep that they are and listened to the sensationalists, who had nothing to back up their ludicrious claims other than the need to sell more books and more tickets to their engagements, we might’ve better prepared for a return to wet conditions. Instead we heard continual garbage from Tim Flannery, David Jones, John Connor, Penny Wong, Peter Garrett, Penny Sackett, Robyn Williams, Clive Hamilton and others saying that our rainfall was going to get less and less. The informed however (as muted as we were) knew that conditions would turn, just as they have done for eons. Sure enough, here we are now in the midst of a strong La Nina, courtesy of a cool phase PDO and slowing jetstream activity (courtesy of a quiet sun) resulting in regular slow moving, very moist systems over eastern Australia. Add to that the negative IOD situation in the Indian Ocean, bringing further moisture across to eastern Australia, and we have wet conditions that could last well into 2012.

    Queensland has just had its wettest year (2010) on record, the drought has been well n truly broken across Victoria, SA, and NSW, dams are at their highest levels in 15 years – and it hasn’t stopped. A wet Feburary is forecast all up and down the Eastern Seaboard, and if JAMSTEC are right (and they usually are), a wet autumn and winter is on its way. More flooding too, especially with many dams already at capacity with saturated catchments. The 28-day rainfall forecast for SE Queensland is not looking good, and sadly I can see an ‘encore’ of sorts happening somewhere in Qld in a few weeks time.

    DONATE to the Queensland Premier’s Flood Appeal at: http://telethon.smartservice.qld.gov.au/

  28. DJ Meredith says:

    Here in Reno there’s a housing development in a region called “Double Diamond”. It’s in a flood plain. Driving along the 395 freeway you need only look at the eastern Sierra on the west, look at the drainage potential, and see where the water is going to end up.

    6500 homes will be flooded, and the cry will be “Nobody warned us!”

  29. Stephen says:

    Why would there be a secret report to government on natural hazards?

    Forgetting for the moment that nothing was done, I really cannot imagine why any researcher producing this report would want to keep it quiet. I cannot think of a single justification why a government would want to keep it secret wither. It looks to me like there is a problem in government more profound than incompetence in this one case. The fact that it stayed quiet for a decade is far more disturbing, as leadership of Queensland has changed hands (though not parties) during that time.

  30. James Fosser says:

    There are no requirements for politicians or persons on councils to have any educational qualifications here in Australia. One merely has to show “An expression of interest’ for the job and be personable. In fact if one does delve into the educational background of these characters, the finding of an educational qualification beyond a basic junior school leaving certificate would be rarer than the Kepler Telescope’s finds of rocky planets like the Earth!

  31. Baa Humbug says:

    Robert Ellison says:
    January 12, 2011 at 7:18 pm
    Rob thankyou for your comments which were obviously based on your hands-on experience.

    However I think your final paragraph was unnecessary. Anthony made no comment about the story. He put forward no opinions. All he did was to alert his readers to a story in the major national paper of Australia.

    And yes this most certainly is relevant. This is the subject discussed by WUWT commentors on the australias-tragic-flooding-30-feared-dead post.

    Whilst you’re here, may I ask, would you support an unfettered full blown Royal Commission into this extreme event (including the Rocky floods etc)?
    If yes, what are the insights to be gained from such a commission?
    If not, why not?

  32. John F. Hultquist says:

    Baa Humbug says:
    January 12, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    I’ll second that.

  33. Ted Gray says:

    What a crime, heads and governments need to fall, this is deliberate destruction of peoples lives and a vibrant economy. All levels of government are responsible for these disgusting cover up and lies, it’s the same crowd and mentality that have feed the climate hoax to a gullible public, there’s no end to the slimy methods they have used, it is high treason to Australia and it has caused the death of many people, wildlife and livelihoods!
    Can somebody fill me in on whats happening in Pomona, near Brisbane there is not much on the internet? I have family members there that I can’t get in touch with, any info would be very much appreciated.
    Thanks.
    Ted. Vancouver, Canada.

  34. Jack says:

    Nothing could have prevented the Toowoomba flash flood which compounded down Murphy’s Crwwk ansd onto Grantham. However, rebuilding should take these marks into account. Government should make many more parks in these towns and assist the flood victims in rebuilding elsewhere or buying elsewhere.
    The whole flooding of the Condamine and Fitzroy system has been very well handled. Now though, they should really consider resiting towns and suburbs.
    Bigger mitigation dams should be built. ALready, teh Dawson River requires a dam for coalmines and the Burdekin dam has to be enlarged.
    These inftastructure programs have a positive effect on the economy and socially.
    AGW and dam bans are dumb and unscientific marketing claptrap.

  35. Common Sense says:

    People living there need to take some responsibility too. You don’t buy a house in a flood plain if you don’t want to be flooded, especially in an area with a long history of devestating floods. You don’t buy a house next to an airport if you don’t want to listen to plane engines all day and night. Etc.

  36. Latimer Alder says:

    @Rob Ellison

    Forgive me for opining from half a world away, but you say:

    The principle in the State Government (much as I might think that less government is always better on principle) disaster management guideline is to give a 1 in 100 flood immunity and to provide safe evacuation routes for a probable maximum flood. These are engineering design principles and not subject to the whim of a politician.

    Just exactly how well do you think these ideas have actually worked in recent practice?

  37. Douglas DC says:

    Sadly we are no better here in Oregon,USA, or new/old Governor “Hayduke”
    Kitzhaber,D-Retread His dream is blow up every dam on the Columbia and as we speak there are Dams on the Klamath River going away power and flood control both.
    I have made my living as a Realtor for the last 11 years after I quit fire fighting.
    I have seen: Homes built on sliding hills with the assurance by the county and state
    that “Heavy rains are a thing of the past,sayeth the Profit.” One large development in particular is now in the other(lower) development’s back yard. I have seen a development built requiring shake Roof homes! “Why it rains a lot on the Oregon
    Coast-there’s no fire danger!”-Ever hear of the Tillamook Burn?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tillamook_Burn
    Then there is the fools who are allowed to build their homes 1/2 a foot above mean
    seal lever-just kidding, but there is a development near Gold Beach Oregon that
    when you drive through it you see driftwood on the banks above the homes.
    The Sea had to be there in the recent past…
    To my Australian friends, I will keep you in my thoughts….

  38. pat says:

    When Global Warming does not pan out. Last time I was in Australia, 2 years ago. they were in the midst of an inland flood plane, and were postulating how it was the last. Amidst very cold temperatures and persistent cold. It seemed like group hysteria.

  39. Keith says:

    Not sure if the state govt is to blame for any deaths yet, but Toowoomba council has a case to answer. Engineers recommended large diameter pipes for storm water culverts but were overruled by council, because it would ruin the aesthetics of the parkland development that encroached on the storm water easements. At last count there were three deaths in Toowoomba.

  40. mike g says:

    Here in the US, we still have a two party system. One party, though, with the help of a sympathetic media, is trying very hard to turn us into a one party welfare state and never wastes an opportunity to complain that the other party is trying to warn the people of the destruction that lies therein.

  41. David W says:

    Keith, Toowoomba had a rainfall rate of about 300mm an hour leading into the disaster. That is they had 150mm of rain in half an hour.

    On the Weatherzone forums which I go to for the most accurate information, (which incidentally introduced me to this website), there were well informed posters who warned of the pending disaster in Toowoomba at least 2 hours before it happened adnwere trying to get the word out to the various authorities when the disaster occurred.

    It was a freak combination of weather factors that caused a rainfall rate that no amount of town planning would have prevented from turning into a catastophe.

    For anyone wanting to learn of the background to this event go to forum.weatherzone.com.au and look at the thread on the event for SE QLD. There is a lot of useful information on the extraordinary nature of what has just occurred in SE QLD.

  42. graham g says:

    As I am a person who has resided in North Queensland for 70+ years, I think the comments by Pat @ 6.19pm on 12th. Jan. above deserve commenting upon as they are accurate.. Wivenhoe Dam was planned and built as a flood mitigation dam by a National Party state government after the 1974 Brisbane flood to save the people in low lying areas from a repeat of the flooding, and to avoid this appalling situation today which could get much worse in the 3 summer months ahead. I hope that I am wrong in that regard.

    Another Queensland city, Townsville, used to have similar flooding issues prior to the 1950′s with above a metre of water across the flood plain during La Nina summer periods. The Burdekin towns of Home Hill and Ayr were similarly affected.
    Flood mitigation dams in these instances were contructed and then managed by local controllers who watched the potential issues without political influence. They have contained the flooding to acceptable minor local flooding, mainly governed by tidal sea levels, and low pressure system tidal influences.

    Cam (Melbourne Australia) at 7.43pm has my admiration for being prepared to print the situation on Australian politics about Climate Change issues.
    I cannot agree with any of Robert Ellison’s comments.

    Thanks Anthony for presenting these issues. It should help many people in flood areas where the government needs to protect the residents by being honest about the situation ,and consider the wisdom of buying back some properties.

  43. memoryvault says:

    Ted Gray

    I live on Bribie Island down the road a bit from Pomona, and I have friends in the Kenilworth – Eumundi area that I am in contact with.

    I have been through all the local news and reports and there doesn’t seem to be any bad news from the Pomona area. It is possible the town and area are isolated at the moment because many of the local, and major roads are cut.

    However phones – including mobiles – and internet, have been out on and off for the past four days. We were without the lot yesterday and the day before and only got services back late last night. Even now mobiles are off and on.

    Apparently some of the major switching exchanges in Brisbane metro have been flooded and damaged and this is causing problems all over the place. Even where the system does work, it quickly gets swamped. So they have asked everybody to only phone if they really have to.

    So I’d say your relatives are fine, but communication with them might be a bit difficult for a few days.

  44. Keith Minto says:

    Wikipedia puts Brisbane river’s flood history into perspective,

    *
    * 14 January 1841 (highest to date)
    * March 1890
    * February 1893, a sequence of flood peaks over some three weeks saw the highest recorded flood level in the Brisbane central business district. Seven lives were lost in the Eclipse Colliery at North Ipswich as a direct result of the flooding. Several other lives were lost to drownings.
    * February 1931
    * 27 January 1974 (Largest flood to affect Brisbane City in the 20th Century).
    * 11 January 2011

    Flooding along the Brisbane River has the potential to be devastating. For much of the river’s length its banks are relatively high, but topped by a broad plain. The river’s ‘sinuous course”means that flood waters from upstream cannot be quickly discharged into Moreton Bay. Thus higher than normal flows cause river levels to rise rapidly and once the top of the banks are breached the floodwaters can spread over wide areas of the city.

    The ‘sinuous course’ is the contour suggesting a minimal flow rate to the sea and so is prone to flooding. As the river approaches Moreton Bay it straightens and widens and it is less prone to flooding.
    I suspect that Wivenhoe Dam’s ‘flood mitigation’ involves controlling outlet flow by opening the gates, four were open when I last looked out of a possible five. Now the flood peak at 1metre below the estimate at high tide at 4am last night is a very large error, welcome certainly, but I wonder if the flow was controlled to dampen the ‘peak’?

  45. Ed from Las Vegas says:

    The comment suggesting that government stop subsidizing flood insurance was right on. A simple solution immune to politics.

  46. Baa Humbug says:

    Ted Gray says:
    January 12, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Can somebody fill me in on whats happening in Pomona, near Brisbane there is not much on the internet? I have family members there that I can’t get in touch with, any info would be very much appreciated.

    Hi Ted
    Mate best I can help you with is to say that Pomona is part of the Sunshine Coast Regional Council
    Currently only 2 roads are closed in Pomona. Black Pinch Road due to slip and Grahams road due to water over road.

    http://www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/index.cfm

    There are contact numbers if you are sufficiently concerned.

  47. RoHa says:

    Doug Badgero :

    “No doubt, private developers would have built anywhere anyone had paid them to build. Perhaps the job of the government in this case was to ensure homeowners and insurance companies adequately understood the risks.”

    The job of the police is to prevent burglaries, but if they fail through incompetence or corruption, we do not place all the blame on the police. We still think that the burglars are to blame for the actual theft.

  48. Hu McCulloch says:

    Let’s hope that Brisbane erects a monument in the center of the flood area indicating the high water level, as a warning to future development.

    Same goes for New Orleans…

  49. Robert Ellison says:

    Latimer Alder says:
    January 12, 2011 at 8:52 pm
    @Rob Ellison

    Hi,

    Let’s start with the easy one. The Beach Protection Act was instituted after the horrendous 1968 storm season. The Beach Protection Authority (now unfortunately rolled into the environment department – going from a technical organisation to one that couldn’t find its arse with a map) calculated setbacks that were conservative in relation to beach erosion and contained a nominal but reasonable adjustment for sea level rise. 2008 legislation raised the bar to an 80cm sea level rise. Whatever. These are things that have been strictly enforced. The only real problem I have with it is that the coastal land surrendered to the state is then allowed to be overtaken by weeds, pigs, cats, foxes and feral 4 wheel drivers.

    Surge levels are routinely calculated up and down the coast of Queensland using data from a good system of wave guages (courtesy of the Beach Protection Authority), bathymetry data courtesy of Geoscience Australia and numerical analysis programs based on the equations of fluid motion – usually till now the Danish Hydraulics Institute MIKE21 model.

    Every project I have worked on in nearly 30 years of engineering has been (1) located out of the 100 year flood which is calculated based on methods that are continually in development by Engineers Australia and published in Australian Rainfall and Runoff, (2) are designed to reduce the 100 year downstream discharge to predevelopment levels and (3) are designed using the best principles, techniques and software in the world to reduce pollutant export from urban and industrial areas.

    As the oldest environmental engineer in existence (I got a Masters in Environmental Science before they thought of Environmental Engineering) – I have been doing this for a long time. It is just part of the design environment.

    There are still a lot of houses built in the decades before these practices. I live near Rockhampton in Central Queensland. It is all very dramatic and there are crocodiles (and these are the biggest and most dangerous there are) cruising the streets but fortunately no one has died locally. The relatively small number of houses inundated are in the older and seedier part of town and the joke is that, dam, there goes the crystal meth and hydroponic dope supply.

    I am sure they are very nice people.

    Cheers
    Rob

  50. Patrick Davis says:

    “graham g says:
    January 12, 2011 at 9:30 pm”

    By my reckoning we have only 6 more weeks of “summer” to go and, to me at least, it’s looking like it’ll be a cool end to it too.

  51. truth says:

    Stephen @Jan 12 7.48pm —–
    as background [ which you may or may not know ], to Queensland Labor Party cover-ups and Hedley Thomas….
    This is just one of the many secrets that the Queensland Labor party has been sitting on for the last twenty years or so .
    The major secret involves law-breaking by members of that party while in government, when they destroyed evidence that a number of lawyers had requested be preserved for foreshadowed legal procedures—a breach by this government that is known about in archivist circles worldwide as one of the most egregious by any Western government..
    In the process, Australian citizens, including children [ because the evidence had involved allegations of paedophile behaviour by staff in a government institution] were [ and have been now for more than twenty years] denied justice under the Australian law.
    The reason for the shredding of the evidence was the anxiety of Queensland Labor politicians to protect their own pre-selections for candidature , by in turn protecting the alleged paedophiles, who happened to be members of the supremely powerful , very Left wing Australian union that holds complete control over pre-selection for Labor candidates in Queensland.
    This matter has been the subject of a University Justice Project , and a submission by a group of Australia’s most prominent lawyers and judges, including a High Court judge, calling for a Commission of Inquiry with an Independent Prosecutor to investigate the prima facie case of law-breaking by a government.
    The submission and similar calls by a Federal Government Senate Select Committee that investigated the matter, have been dismissed by the Labor government’s lapdog ‘watchdog’ Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Commission.
    In 2007, when the person at the centre, and more powerful than Cabinet Ministers in that Labor government that destroyed evidence, was asking Australia to vote him into the Prime Ministership, many of us who knew about the shredding of the evidence, the damage to innocent people and the extraordinary cover-up, commented on blogs, and called for an inquiry and for the politicians involved to be required to answer to the Australian people for their placing of themselves above the law at the direct expense of the lives of ordinary Australians.
    We who spoke out , and the one journalist who , on his blog, went out on a limb to try to get some justice, were subjected to an extraordinary onslaught of smear , vilification and all of the confected guilt by perceived association , name-calling and sly innuendo that we also get if we try to ask serious questions on some of the AGW blogs.
    We were subjected , over the length of that election campaign, to vicious tandem attacks by a posse of journalists from The Australian, led by the same Hedley Thomas, who wrote this article on the flood information cover-up.
    That was 2007, and you’ll note that even while he was vilifying us, he knew all about QLD Labor—-he had had this information since 2003 about this cover-up on the truth about the flood dangers.
    All of Australia’s journalists, except for a brave one or two, have gone to great lengths over the last 20 years, to suppress the information Australians are entitled to, on this Labor government’s destruction of evidence—— so it’s no surprise that they also allowed them to suppress information on flood dangers, and on AGW science —- and actively help them to feed us lies and propaganda.
    And it seems to me the person in the best position to know this is Hedley Thomas.

  52. Ted Gray says:

    Hi memoryvault and Baa Humbug.
    Thanks a million for the info, and thanks to Anthony’s website for the amazing writers and comments, I go to the school of higher learning every time I read these articles and the follow up comment’s. Isn’t the Internet an amazing thing? We really are an international crowd on the same path. I wish all Australians in Queensland a safe speedy recovery from the flooding and the politician’s who perpetuate this misery and hell. It seems no matter where we live in the world we get the same politicos from the left trying to screw us endlessly!
    Cheers Ted.

  53. Robert Ellison says:

    graham g says:
    January 12, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    ‘I cannot agree with any of Robert Ellison’s comments.’
    Dear Graham,

    I am sorry to hear – that I don’t try to be difficult – it just comes naturally. But neither you nor Pat have the foggiest idea of what you speak. The Wivenhoe dam was at 187% capacity as of this morning. Pat has confused the water supply capacity on an out of date website, as someone else did and I corrected, to the flood capacity. The dam went from 100% (full water supply level) to the 200% flood attenuation capacity as it was designed to do during the recent rains.

    Pat quite foolishly assumed that the dam should have been at 50% of water supply capacity and the other 50% used for flood mitigation – and that the powers that be had unwisely used the flood capacity to store water because of the dreaded greenie influence and, therefore, Brisbane went under water. Damned greenies.

    The design equation is the differential equation of storage.

    Q = I – dS/dt – Q is the outflow, I is the inflow and dS/dt is the change in storage volume. Is the dam is full and they are releasing more water to maintain levels and safe conditions – then dS/dt is zero and outflow equals inflow.

    No amount of inchoate political analysis – superimposed on a weird and wonderful flood analysis from Pat – can negate the physical realities.

    But wasn’t this post about a secret squirrel flood report on Brisbane? Not about dams and greenies per se? I was just saying that I know from first hand experience during nearly 30 years as a flood engineer that flood levels in Brisbane were determined by the most respected engineering firms in Australia using standard modelling techniques developed by Engineers Australia over decades.

    Anything else is just ratbag politics – anti-greens and anti-labor rhetoric as muddle headed as anything from the left. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    Robert I Ellison BE(Hons) MEnSC CPEng RPEQ

  54. Steeptown says:

    I’ve owned four houses in my life, and the first criterion I always used when looking at a property was could it be flooded. I’ve never been wrong yet.

  55. Grey Lensman says:

    Robert

    Engineering is about solving problems not washing hands. So I am surprised you made those comments.

    I, besides the Human crisis, am concerned at the vast waste of water rushing out to Sea, that could be need in the Future.

    Clearly, the political leaders that refused to drain the flood protection dam to its operating level, should NOW be in Jail.

  56. I am a Canadian, and I have an emotional connection with Australia having travelled their twice on matters of the heart, to see a dear lady. Once, I saw myself as possibly spending my life there.

    It’s a great country full of beauty, but the political beliefs of a lot of folks are more than a bit unrealistic. There seems to be a really strong segment of the population that believes whatever meme ABC News et al. is pushing at the time, and the country itself seems to be more comfortable with controls on free speech than many Western nations.

    Fortunately, not all: There are some great independent thinkers from that country.

    It saddens me not only that this report could have been suppressed and hidden, but that it was done so knowing it could endanger people’s lives, not to mention the minor matter of the properties they own, and their livelihoods.

    But, lives! Perhaps as many as 70 of them snuffed out by willful suppression of a scientific report, based on peer-reviews science.

    This is a tragedy crime.

  57. LazyTeenager says:

    Latitude says
    ———-
    I have a great idea, let’s give government even more power and control……………
    ……..since it’s been proven over and over how great government is at running things
    ———–
    And you want to give control instead to those wonderfully efficient coporations; like property developed perhaps. I wonder how that would turn out.

  58. graham g says:

    Reply to Robert Ellison.

    I respect your qualifications on these flooding matters. However,I am not ashamed of myself as you suggest . I also have engineering qualifications, but not in your field of expertise. I certainly would not want to go to sea in the same ship with you in charge..
    187% of capacity for a dam prior to an know major La Nina event does not seem to me to be a sound flood mitigation policy, no matter how many times you repeat your statements from Engineers Australia. Sounds like a Titanic experience.
    She’ll be right mate.!

  59. TheSkyIsFalling says:

    Just saw an ABC (government channel here) reporter interviewing a “water infrastructure expert” from the Aust National University about the Brisbane flood and other floods throughout Queensland. Two things I got from it:

    1. the reporter made about half a dozen references to climate change implying the current flood has something to do with climate change – despite the fact they occur about every 40 years as per previous posts on this thread. I have now lived through 2 of them.

    2. the expert said building dams does not assist with flood mitigation. Huh!? He went on to say the Wivenhoe dam which was built to mitigate floods after the 74 flood as well as increase water supply resulted in a decrease of 2 meters in the peak flood height. I find it difficult to reconcile his statement that building dams does not assist with flood mitigation. That 2 meters means 10′s of thousands of houses saved.

    The ABC needs to have its tax payer funding withdrawn. I am sick to death of listening to rubbish like this. The ANU expert needs a revision course.

  60. wonkling von snorkle says:

    Regardless of the science, the Australian Government in collaberation with the MSM, abley supported by regular contributions from the likes of Flim Flannery, Robyn Williams et al will irrefutably link this tragic event to MMGW. The shell shocked and gullible populace will go along with the farce like the sheeple most of them are, and Climate realists, sanity and reason in Australia don’t stand a chance.

  61. sHx says:

    pat says:
    January 12, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    hence the brisbane river peaked and low-lying areas were flooded similar to 1974. we might as well not have built wivenhoe. it’s a complete disgrace, yet the MSM has been repeating the lie that wivenhoe (SEQ Water) has actually saved us from worse flooding.

    If Wivenhoe hadn’t been built the flooding in Brisbane would be twice as high as 1974 level. The only way this flooding might have been avoided is if Wivenhoe was near empty two weeks ago. Wivenhoe is a multipurpose dam. It is also used for clean water and electricity generation. The ideal level is 100%, but the reservoir can grow up to 225% of capacity before emergency spillway is needed.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/13/3111717.htm
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/01/11/3110758.htm

    The floods clearly won’t help the likes of Tim Flannery and other AGW catastrophists in their crusade. But it is too early to assign blame on political actors. For what it’s worth, the previously unpopular Bligh Labor Government in Queensland has so far come out well in this disaster.

  62. HR says:

    pat says:
    January 12, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    It struck me watching footage of water flowing out of the Wivenhoe Dam 24hrs before the flood peak in Brisbane that it was possible that some sort of error had been made with the use of the dam as a water storage and flood mitigation device. Your timeline is interesting, I’d been reading reports from back in Oct that the threat of floods was possible given the intense La Nina.

    I actually think that Anna Bligh has done a great job over the last few days and right now it’s unlikely that these sort of issues will be raised but I’m sure in the future this issue will raise it’s head. One mitigating factor is that following a 10 year drought it would take a brave politician to open the tap.

  63. johanna says:

    The fact is, any government that tried to implement the recommendations of this report would have been thrown out on its ear.

    Queensland has always been very pro development and keen to increase population. Governments of all political persuasions have bent over backwards for these aims, supported by the voters.

    If a government had placed huge swathes of Brisbane out of bounds for housing, it would have been crucified at the polls, accused of raising housing prices (by choking off land supply) and crippling economic development. Also, many of the inundated areas are very attractive to home buyers, precisely because they have rich alluvial soil – making for great parks and gardens – and river views.

    It is just human nature at work, no conspiracy theories are required. I saw interviews today with homeowners whose houses had water up to the roof, saying they would ‘not be beaten’ and were determined to rebuild. I think they are idiots, but as long as it is their own money at stake, that is up to them.

    Brisbane City Council has had a standing offer for 400 homeowners in low lying areas to buy their houses back for a long time. To date, 19 have accepted the offer. In a democracy, you can’t legislate against stupidity.

  64. OT but a “urgent” OT:

    I believe the all time coldest temperature measured on Greenland is -62,8 C
    For days now, the prognosis for tonights temperatures says colder than this.
    The last prognosis for tonights temperature says – 64 C:
    http://www.klimadebat.dk/forum/vedhaeftninger/summit2.jpg

    Follow the development of measured temperatures on Summit opdated all the time:
    http://www.summitcamp.org/status/weather/index?period=week

    K.R. Frank, and as allways, my gratitude for this site an everyone commenting and managing WUWT is beyond words

  65. amicus curiae says:

    been through a Much lesser flooding, caught some nasty skin bug from filthy muddy water while cleaning up, had to throw out almost everything, whats ;left stinks for years of mould and mud, and then the insurers play silly buggers over terms like flood vs inundation… and refuse to pay. rebuilding a home on a pension income with no bank loans available die to age and pension… and there will be thousands with far worse damage and in the same situation or uninsured.
    the loss of animals is glossed over, thousands have drowned.
    the ultragreenecotards that wanted to keep all the land shut away to preserve whatever? what a laugh. nature cares not one whit!
    any GM crop seeds would now be scattered far and wide, along with weeds and it will be interesting to see what rare species appear right out of the “so special” only place etc etc environments, thanks to? nature again.
    damn, also means cane toads will have been washed down right through to sa with the water coming down.!
    and to top it off. ruined land and equipment means we need to grow elsewhere fast!
    so the SA govt and the MDB idiots want to limit the Murray irrigators and continue to charge for water in a…flooding river system thats pouring 90gig a day out to sea now, and thats before this water hits…and whats flooding parts of Vic and nsw NOW!
    in colloqial aus this is called a Balls up.
    some need to be placed balls up IN the water to bring facts home the hard way!

  66. Robert Ellison says:

    Baa Humbug says:
    January 12, 2011 at 7:56 pm
    ‘Robert Ellison says:
    January 12, 2011 at 7:18 pm
    Rob thankyou for your comments which were obviously based on your hands-on experience.’

    ‘However I think your final paragraph was unnecessary. Anthony made no comment about the story. He put forward no opinions. All he did was to alert his readers to a story in the major national paper of Australia.’

    As I say – I don’t mean to be difficult – it just comes naturally. I’m also a bit over fools, charlatans and opportunists. I can’t figure out what the purpose of the story is other than some idiot needed something to write about – it is sensationalist and nonsensical reporting during a time of crisis. The flood heights in Brisbane were calculated by some of the most respected engineering firms in Australia. Dozens of reports (that I have personally read) and multiple models and revisions over many years. This post has riled fools and conspiracy nutbags as you can see from some of the responses.

    ‘And yes this most certainly is relevant. This is the subject discussed by WUWT commentors (sic) on the australias-tragic-flooding-30-feared-dead post.’

    The post was misleading, crass, incorrect and insensitive political posturing on dams in the midst of great tragedy. The death toll stands at 15 and dinkum Australians should think of the relatives and friends before turning it into a political troll about dams. The particular dam on the Mary River was technically and economically rubbish anyway. I have absolutely no more to say on this.

    ‘Whilst you’re here, may I ask, would you support an unfettered full blown Royal Commission into this extreme event (including the Rocky floods etc)?
    If yes, what are the insights to be gained from such a commission?
    If not, why not?’

    Rocky’s flood is the 4th largest on record – it reached 9.2m. About a 1 in 96 year flood as I explained elsewhere. The Rocky flood gauge is shown here: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/floodrelief/gallery-fn7ik2te-1225983066348?page=45

    The 1 in 100 year terminology misleads the public – major flooding can be expected in a 10 to 20 year (or even 3 times in a week) timeframe rather than happening once in a hundred years. So Rocky flooding was not extreme – the last big flood was in 1991. We have only a hundred odd years of good rainfall and flood records so record values of any kind can be expected quite frequently.

    It always feels exceptional but the truth is that neither drought nor floods have departed much anywhere from the historic limits. Here is the average rainfall for 100 years – http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/change/rain.shtml – note the statistically insignificant trend upwards.

    Much emphasis is put on regional analysis – this is a bit like examining entrails to divine the future. Don’t they know that weather is chaotic rather than deterministic? Forget I said that – last time I mentioned chaos someone said that I was using chaos the cover a warmist agenda and that God doesn’t play dice. I did explain nicely that chaos wasn’t just a word but one of the three great ideas, along with relativity and quantum mechanics, of 20th Century physics.

    Everyone should do a post disaster analysis – it is part of doing it better in future – what went wrong, how can we do it better, what improvements do we need to make in flood warnings or emergency management, what infrastructure needs replacing or improving, are there additional flood protection measures that need to be put in place, do we need to demolish some older houses in floodplains. It is something better managed by local disaster management teams rather than amateurs and lawyers getting involved – perhaps in a Productivity Commission framework. Do you want to turn it into a shit fight on the philosophy of dams?

    Already Barnaby Joyce is saying that Rocky in particular would be less flood prone with more dams. The Fitzroy Basin catchment is the second biggest in Australia. I think he is basically clueless – he is a f….. accountant. Much cheaper and infinitely more effective to relocate a few hundred people in Rocky to higher ground.

    If you want dams for cotton – say so. I would suggest off stream storages and flood harvesting is an economically and environmentally better way to go.

    I have an article here – http://sciencefile.org/SciFile/articles/articles-earth/2297-how-the-pacific-ocean-influences-global-climate-a-review-of-the-physical-evidence- (which I would be happy to post here?) which essentially says that we should expect 10 to 30 more years of more frequent and intense La Nina and all that implies. I have been studying this for decades – ever since Erskine and Warner introduced me to the idea of drought dominated and flood dominated regimes in the late 1980′s – something btw that is a cornerstone of Australian hydrology. It is not driven by carbon dioxide at all but by chaotic bifurcation in Pacific Ocean climate states. I think the fact that we shifted from a warm Pacific state to a cool state after 1998 is a prima facie case for a natural origin. It also has a spiffy new 1st order differential climate change formula you should look at.

    We need to get our flooding act together because this is not the end of it by a couple of decades yet. Flooding and not drought will be the problem de jour for a while yet.

    Cheers
    Robert I Ellison BE(Hons) MEnSc CPEng RPEQ

  67. Robert Ellison says:

    graham g says:
    January 12, 2011 at 11:56 pm
    Reply to Robert Ellison.

    I don’t know if you are willfully misunderstanding. The dam volume increased to 200% from 100% during the flood as it was designed to do for flood mitigation. Then you just run out of storage capacity in a very big flood.

  68. Les Francis says:

    Graham G. and Robert Ellison.
    You might be be both qualified engineers with much experience in your relevant fields, however crucial environmental decisions are now made by activist academics and self interest politicians – both groups who have little thought about reality.

    (I think that Robert Ellison may have already pointed this out).

  69. Graeme Olsen says:

    The history of Brisbane floods shown on the ABC News website is interesting. Note the frequency of floods between 1887 and 1893 – four big floods in seven years.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/infographics/qld-floods/peaks.htm

  70. David says:

    ¨But wasn’t this post about a secret squirrel flood report on Brisbane? Not about dams and greenies per se? I was just saying that I know from first hand experience during nearly 30 years as a flood engineer that flood levels in Brisbane were determined by the most respected engineering firms in Australia using standard modelling techniques developed by Engineers Australia over decades.¨

    Hi,
    Could you explain how the engineers were so wrong?

    Brisbane has a history of flooding, and indeed I know of
    old timers who will point out streets, developments etc
    and say ¨She will go next time we get a flood like ´74.¨

    (Which has now happened)

    And anyone can see that the new developments were
    at a lower level than previous flood levels.

    Is it a case of assessing the risk, the odds, or the
    increasing needs of a growing population and just
    needing the land.

    Or is it the curse of the dreaded ¨modelling¨?

  71. Grumbler says:

    Stephen says:
    January 12, 2011 at 7:48 pm
    Why would there be a secret report to government on natural hazards?

    Forgetting for the moment that nothing was done, I really cannot imagine why any researcher producing this report would want to keep it quiet.

    The researcher can’t make it public. The client pays for it and does with it as they please.

  72. A C Osborn says:

    Robert Ellison says: “disaster management guideline is to give a 1 in 100 flood immunity”
    During the 1800 there were 8 Major floods in a 60 year period, 3 of which were higher than the 1974 floods. So the the 2 in 60 (not 1 in 100) event had a hieght of 8.3M and that is the value that should have been mitigated against and 1974 proved the point.
    If there was a 1999 report that said the current protection was inadequate they have been proved correct and the “Numerical flood modelling” got it wrong.

  73. latitude says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    January 12, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Latitude says
    ———-
    I have a great idea, let’s give government even more power and control……………
    ……..since it’s been proven over and over how great government is at running things
    ———–
    And you want to give control instead to those wonderfully efficient coporations; like property developed perhaps. I wonder how that would turn out.
    =======================================================
    Lazy, the governments only job it to protect us.

    That’s not the job of corporations or developers and shouldn’t be.

  74. Larry Geiger says:

    In Live Oak, FL, on the Suwannee River there is a canoe base, Suwannee Outpost. Next to the outpost office is a pole with the major flood levels marked on it. The highest floods are way above the Outpost office roof. The Outpost office was designed to float :-)

  75. johanna says:

    Is my post of a few hours ago in the spam filter? Can’t repost as I am told by wordpress that it has already been sent.

    [Nope, not there. Robt]

  76. Rhys Jaggar says:

    Typical politicians.

    All they care about is their own publicity for a few years and to hell with the safety of the communities they purport to represent.

    Based on this, there is prima faciae evidence for all those officials at that time who are still being alive being sued by the insurance companies, the families of any who died etc etc for culpable homicide, wilful distortion of true risks for insurers and failure to heed proper advice by experts.

    Of course, such trials would cost a lot of money.

    It might be a better idea to go round to their houses and simply [].

    [Now, now. No such (practical) answers allowed in polite discussions. 8<) Robt]

  77. johanna says:

    Mod. Robt – what can I do? No naughty or inflammatory words or sentiments in my post, and wordpress won’t let me resend it. (Not that it is a big deal, but it is not the first time this has happened) – j.

    [Select your text, copy-and-paste-it to the submit box (It is probably already there) and add a line saying words to the effect of "Resubmitted, second pass". The changed lines should pass the do-not-pass-duplicate-entries filter. Robt]

  78. John Cooper says:

    It seems to be a rule of nature that the politicians always overrule the engineers. I am thinking of the loss of the Challenger where the Thiokol engineers warned them not to launch in sub-freezing weather, and the loss of the Columbia where the engineers strongly urged that a spy satellite take a look at the TPS. Both were overruled by the mis-named “management”.

  79. Peter Whale says:

    History has a lot of answers for us and the warmist notion better safe than sorry, spend billions now on carbon reduction, does not seem to apply to history with observed dangers.. By the way anyone live in San Francisco on the San Andreas fault?

  80. Baa Humbug says:

    Robert Ellison says:
    January 13, 2011 at 2:59 am

    Thnx for the detailed response.

    No, I don’t want a $hit fight, I just want to know that decision makers are getting the best advice and acting on that advice to the best of their ability.
    If an inquiry by disaster management team(s) in a productivity Commission framework will achieve that, I’m ok with that.

    Your article you linked for me – http://sciencefile.org/SciFile/articles/articles-earth/2297-how-the-pacific-ocean-influences-global-climate-a-review-of-the-physical-evidence – is informative and well worth the read. I recommend it to WUWT readers and would encourage Mr Watts to invite you to do a post.

  81. JP says:

    I think many readers here hit on a sailent point. Austrailia in particular bought into the AGW Alarmist hysteria. And it wouldn’t surprise me in the least that many planners took the Alarmists word that droughts and not floods are the pressing problem. This is AGW policy in action. In the UK, we’ve seen the same thing as far as snow is concerned.

    The new meme now is one of “climate extremes”. Now every strange weather phenomenon can be accounted for. However, I’m not so sure the taxpayers will be so guillable in the future. Money is tight all around. And few governments can afford the lavish spending they’ve given Climate Science these last few decades.

  82. johanna says:

    The fact is, any government that tried to implement the recommendations of this report would have been thrown out on its ear.

    Queensland has always been very pro development and keen to increase population. Governments of all political persuasions have bent over backwards for these aims, supported by the voters.

    If a government had placed huge swathes of Brisbane out of bounds for housing, it would have been crucified at the polls, accused of raising housing prices (by choking off land supply) and crippling economic development. Also, many of the inundated areas are very attractive to home buyers, precisely because they have rich alluvial soil – making for great parks and gardens – and river views.

    It is just human nature at work, no conspiracy theories are required. I saw interviews today with homeowners whose houses had water up to the roof, saying they would ‘not be beaten’ and were determined to rebuild. I think they are idiots, but as long as it is their own money at stake, that is up to them.

    Brisbane City Council has had a standing offer for 400 homeowners in low lying areas to buy their houses back for a long time. To date, 19 have accepted the offer. In a democracy, you can’t legislate against stupidity.

    Resubmitted – second pass.

    [Reply: you re-submitted this a third time @ 10:21 a.m. I'm not posting that one because this was posted and it says the same thing. ~dbs, mod.]

  83. johanna says:

    Mod. Robt. – I followed your suggestion and the same thing happened, ie post disappeared, never got the ‘your post is being moderated’ box, but wordpress wouldn’t allow a repost. I tried it using a different opening line as well.

    I’m using Firefox -latest version – and have no probs on other sites (or this one, mostly).

    Fortunately, I’m not paranoid! But with all the IT experts on this site, maybe someone can suggest something?

  84. It would be nice to take some smug view that expresses symphony for this poor Australians and the foolishness of their politicians, but it can’t happen here. Think again it can and has and will. When logic is overridden by faith and greed is ready to take advantage this is the result. It is world wide and ever present.

  85. John F. Hultquist says:

    Baa Humbug says:
    January 13, 2011 at 7:16 am
    Robert Ellison says:
    January 13, 2011 at 2:59 am

    The figures in the paper would not open for me in either IE or Chrome.
    I tried the link to the E & E site but they want £18.00.
    I’ll try a few other work-arounds.
    You folks are providing a lot of good information. Thanks for that.

  86. Robert Christopher says:

    RoHa says January 12, 2011 at 9:54 pm
    The job of the police is to prevent burglaries, but if they fail through incompetence or corruption, we do not place all the blame on the police. We still think that the burglars are to blame for the actual theft.

    After a burglary, I wouldn’t blame the police, but we might reflect upon the reassurances made by the suppliers of our failed burglar alarm and its fitting, as well as the future of the current (expensive to feed) guard dog!

    I thought that government gave permission to build on a plot of land, because it was SUITABLE, sometimes done in conjunction with promises of extra flood defences.
    Though houses below sea level or near receding cliffs etc do seem an obvious risk! I prefer passive security, not relying on human action for safety.

    I have known plots that were OK until, years later, when even more building work close by made those original plots subject to flooding. The owners of the original plots may have protested at the new developments, (I don’t know in this case), but what do they do if they were ignored or, as sometimes happens, extra flood defences promises made and then forgotten. Being denied information on possible flooding would only make the situation worse.

  87. tango says:

    I think Sydney will be next on the list we also have let 1000s of homes build on low lying land and close to rivers and the sea and the insurance co will not pay out on floods thay will find it a act of god

  88. Khwarizmi says:

    Rainfalls are now just a thing of the past.
    by Chully Onion

    Australia’s summer ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: rain is starting to disappear from our lives.

    Farming precariously on the barren landscape, collecting water in dams, and jumping puddles are all a rapidly diminishing part of Australia’s culture, as drier weather – which scientists are attributing to global climate change – produce not only fewer wet Christmases, but fewer wet Januaries and Februaries.

    How bad is it? One Australian newspaper is reporting:

    “DROUGHT will become a redundant term as Australia plans for a permanently drier future, according to the nation’s urban water industries chief….
    The urban water industry has decided the inflows of the past will never return,” Water Services Association of Australia executive director Ross Young said. “We are trying to avoid the term ‘drought’ and saying this is the new reality.”
    http://www.theage.com.au/news/climate-watch/no-more-drought-its-a-permanent-dry/2007/09/06/1188783415754.html

    Drought is too comfortable a word,” said John Williams, the New South Wales state Commissioner for Natural Resources. “Drought connotes a return to normal. We need to be adjusting.
    http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/node/927

    “Australia is the harbinger of change,” said paleontologist Tim Flannery, Australia’s most vocal climate change prophet. “The pattern that we’re seeing now in the weather in Australia is very much the pattern was predicted by computer models as much as a decade ago.We will have to get by with less water. The CSIRO’s telling us that. We’re seeing it now, in the evidence before our eyes in our rivers and creeks, and of course the computer models in the global models have been predicting just this now for some years. I think all evidence says that this is our new climate and we have to get by with less water than we’ve ever had before.
    http://old.globalpublicmedia.com/transcripts/2833

    “Ultimately”, he says, “Australian children could have only virtual experience of water. Via the internet, they might wonder at river scenes – or eventually feel virtually wet.”

    Hopefully Australia will see the value and urgency in taking climate action before the last puddle dries up, since unrestrained greenhouse gas emissions are projected to accelerate drought and desertification.
    http://climateprogress.org/2006/12/19/australias-facing-worst-drought-for-1000-years/

  89. Tom B says:

    Sorry, but I just couldn’t help it. Did graham g says: January 12, 2011 at 9:30 pm say that the City of Townsville was under attack? So the obvious solution would be sugar and spice and everything nice – plus a secret ingredient, Chemical X.

  90. Kaboom says:

    As a Brisbane resident through the 1974 and 2011 flood events, it appears to this observer that the same low-lying areas that were flooded in 1974 have been inundated once again.

    I see no evidence so far that any new (post 1974) subdivision approvals in the Brisbane city area have been affected to the extent of dwelling inundation, over the Q-100 line (1-in-100 year flood).

    I suspect that the “secret” report was merely a turn of the century wish-list by greenies and global warmenists, who unfortunately seemed to infect and gain influence in professional engineering bodies at that time.

    This “secret” report would have said that Wivenhoe Dam’s storage capacity would be insufficient to alleviate a really, really big flood event, such as 1974. As a consequence, the pre-existing (before 1974) residential properties would once again become inundated.

    This is perfectly true. However, minor flooding events were successfuly mitigated bewteen 1974 and 2011.

    The report would have suggested that the Council buy back or otherwise prohibit persons from residing in the flood-prone pre-1974 dwellings, which would have resulted in enormous costs, and vastly expanded ex-burb infrastructure.

    I would think that rejection of this “secret” report would show some modicum of common sense being exercised by the left-wing Labor Government of the time, because the contents of the said report may have been really off the wall prognostications of an easily identified lunatic fringe.

    There is no evidence that such a report was commissioned by any Government of the time, and my intuition is that is was gratuiously prepared and presented.

    I repeat – there is no evidence that any residential development approved since 1974 has been inundated. If this is the case, then questions need to be raised as to the approval process, and the Q-100 determination of that time.

  91. Mike Restin says:

    It looks like you folks have the same problem with government as us.
    We are moving in hard to get them to slow down their regulation writing and stop spending money.
    They think all they need do is let the EPA steal our money instead of our congress.
    Good luck with your “drought!”

  92. Bob Tisdale says:

    Baa Humbug and Robert Ellison:

    It was suggested I take a look at the discussion of the PDO included here:
    http://sciencefile.org/SciFile/articles/articles-earth/2297-how-the-pacific-ocean-influences-global-climate-a-review-of-the-physical-evidence

    The following two sentences are incorrect, and that’s as far as I went: “A cool mode PDO, over 20 to 30 years, sees cooler than average sea surface temperature (SST) in the northern Pacific and more frequent and intense La Niña. A warm mode PDO is defined as warmer than average SST in the north eastern Pacific over 20 to 30 years and is associated with more frequent and intense El Niño.”

    Robert, the PDO does NOT represent the average SST anomalies of the North Pacific north of 20N. The PDO is the leading principal component of the SST anomalies of the North Pacific, north of 20N. Refer to my Intro to PDO post:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/09/introduction-to-enso-amo-and-pdo-part-3.html

  93. graham g says:

    Reply to Robert, Khwarizmi and Kaboom.

    Thank you for your comments.
    I’m pleased that Bob Tisdale has joined this discussion.
    Robert Ellison’s Science File link is interesting reading .
    I appear to have a serious misunderstanding of the safety or wisdom of going above 100% of design dam capacity before releasing large volumes of water downstream. !
    I thought these water releases were called “short term pain for long term gain” by the people downstream back in the 1980′s, from a dedicated “flood mitigation dam”.

    As I watch the TV footage from a helicopter this morning the massive property damage to all the people affected by this flood, I believe there should be a better system of flood control for Queensland’s capital city, Brisbane . It is not only housing that is being impacted. Public health is going to be an serious issue, and loss of life has already occurred. I have lived most of my life with this in Northern Queensland, and flood control should be minimised better that we have observed this year in Brisbane .
    If I am wrong in my belief, maybe an expert like Robert can enlighten us all on the important issue of when a flood mitigaton dam becomes a significant water storage area. If you observe anger in my comments so far, it is because I experienced this flooding problem caused by economic necessity for far too many years, to want more people to share the unnecessary pain that floods cause. We know enough about weather patterns here now, and we should shun or ignore the Climate Change “drought only experts” of the past decade.

  94. Keith Minto says:

    tango,
    Jan 13: 10:03
    Sydney Harbour is a sunken valley (from the LGM), inflow is from the Parramatta river, outflow at the heads would greatly exceed inflow. The Brisbane river is on a flood plane with flat contour gradients and a huge catchment area. Big difference.

  95. JCB says:

    So many threads come together in these comments.

    Delingpole (and Andrew Bolt for that matter) is in my opinion wrong to choose the Mary River dam as an example of the wayward green religion. Again this is an example of the Orwellian nightmare that is Australia. A commenter mentioned document shredding, the funny thing is those implicated in this event appear as players in the choice of the site for the dam on the Mary.

    To set the scene, the development boom in South-east Queensland ( Greater Brisbane) where we are busy building a new Los Angeles complete with smog bucket, was under threat from a lack of water. A group of trough feeders and snake-oil salesmen were up for re-election with the majority of their electorates starting to shower in buckets and unable to wash the car. Hey, presto the ‘Cheshire Cat’ Premier flew over at tax-payer expense and selected the Mary River as the site for another dam. This was to the great surprise of anyone with an understanding of dams as the dam would be shallow, and therefore not suitable for water supply. The public cried bulls#%t and the poor bastards whose farms, houses and livelyhoods were threatened said they would fight the dam to the death. This was when the trash from our university student unions that now inhabit our parliaments threw unbelievable buckets of cash at the land-owners ( they were buying an election with the public’s cash). The people who took these deals did well. Thus cynically and without a real public interest a community was disrupted.

    So as we sit here in a sodden Australia watching the waste of the Anthropogenic Global warming scam wash away. The cynical water grid is submerged, the grid solar arrays are as dangerous as brown snakes, the sodden insulation is collapsing ceilings while our wonderful foreign Minister (ex Copenhagen Prime Minister, ex implicated in shredding) is wandering around with a TV crew threatening one of his electors with police because he was happy sitting in his raised house mistakenly offering, in my opinion one of Australia’s lowest forms of life a cold beer and schnaps.

  96. If a government had placed huge swathes of Brisbane out of bounds for housing, it would have been crucified at the polls, accused of raising housing prices (by choking off land supply) and crippling economic development. Also, many of the inundated areas are very attractive to home buyers, precisely because they have rich alluvial soil – making for great parks and gardens – and river views.

    It is just human nature at work, no conspiracy theories are required.

    This is absolute nonsense.

    You are right, undoubtedly, in your understanding of Brisbane’s geography, and probably of its voters’ mindsets as well.

    Where you are wrong is that it was utterly despicable to hide and bury this report. It should have been made public, and then a public conversation ensued (to whatever limited degree the voters were interested in it or cared).

    Then, so informed. the public and its representatives could have carried on, business as usual, and taken the risk.

    But to not tell them accurately about a known risk, or at least make this report known so it could be compared to other estimates, was criminal negligence.

    Or at the very least, unethical and dangerous.

  97. Greg Cavanagh says:

    Brisbane City has their own hydrologists who model, map and advise the government about flooding potential and mitigation measures. It sounds like this secret report was done by external parties who probably expected to suddenly become the principle advisors.

    If their report was read by anyone at all, they might have sent it through to the hydrology department, who then might have looked through and said things like, yep, yes, we know, hmm, what was he thinking.

    It sounds like a political if not power mongering exercise, of dubious merit.

  98. Brian H says:

    A really excellent illustration of the validity of von Mises’ observation:

    “If one rejects laissez faire on account of man’s fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action.” Ludwig von Mises – Austrian Economist 1881 – 1973

  99. One gets the impression that many commentators believe Queensland’s urban planners should have designed big cities on high ground surrounded by vast and empty ‘flood plains’. Unh, not likely. Australia is an ancient, worn-down continent, hence very flat. A few mountains still stand, but Oz is basically one humongous flood plain. You live here, you need to deal with that. Earlier settlers to Queensland (up through the 1950s would be my guess) recognised the challenge and built ‘Queenslander’-style houses … on stilts (usually with wide covered porches surrounding a central living area, an excellent design for mitigating the worst effects of inordinately hot summers). The ‘Queenslander’ is a superb example of what, these days, we’d call ‘adaptation’. Unfortunately, town planners are uniformly certain that nobody born before 1970 knows anything whatsoever about designing houses or communities. They’re unanimous about the primacy of high density construction on concrete slabs. They design for cheap, flat roads connecting separate precincts for retail, industrial, and residential development. And, like the universities which hand out their degrees, they’re pig-ignorant of history (no offence intended to real pigs). Truth to tell, Australians knew a lot more about how to accommodate themselves to their environment in 1811 and 1911 than they do in 2011. On form, I doubt that much will be learned from the current tragedy. It’s too much easier to chant ‘Global Warming!’ than to say ‘We’re sorry, we got it wrong’.

  100. Doug Badgero says:

    RoHa,

    Sorry I haven’t been back in awhile, but your kidding me right? Upon what basis would the developers believe they were “burgling” anything? Surely your not attempting to compare the clear right and wrong answer regarding whether it is okay to burgle, with the much less obvious question of flood plain location. The “crime” is that apparently the government was told they were allowing development in a flood plain and simply chose not to tell others.

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